April 26 - December 31, 2022

Olmsted in Chicago: South Park Then and Now


A member of the Washington Park Cameral Club photographing the Japanese Garden in Jackson Park. Photo by Yvonne Cary Carter.

Watch the Photo Essay

Olmsted in Chicago: South Park Then and Now

April 26, 2022, marks the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted, author, conservationist, social reformer, and America’s seminal landscape architect. Olmsted and his successors designed some of Chicago’s most beloved and important greenspaces including Jackson Park, Washington Park, Midway Plaisance, and the University of Chicago campus. The city joins more than 120 organizations across the United States that have come together to celebrate the bicentennial in a campaign called Olmsted 200: Parks for All People.

The Washington Park Camera Club, one of the Chicago area’s oldest camera clubs and predominantly composed of African American members from the city’s South Side, celebrates Olmsted’s iconic green spaces with an online photographic essay launching on his 200th birthday. The exhibition weaves together historic and contemporary images of Olmsted’s South Park: Jackson and Washington Parks and the Midway Plaisance. With recent photography by twelve members of the club, the project highlights the importance of Olmsted’s landscapes in the past as well as the vital role they play in the lives of Chicagoans today.

Presented in collaboration with the Hyde Park Historical Society as part of a yearlong celebration of Olmsted in Chicago consisting of this exhibition and a series of park tours this spring and summer.